London celebrates Chinese New Year 2014 – Chinese New Year takes place this year on Friday January 31, but for London the main Chinese New Year celebrations, marking the Year of the Horse, take place on Sunday February 2.
As usual, London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are set to be the biggest outside of Asia and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the West End to mark the occasion.
Events begin at 10am, with a colourful New Year’s Parade that passes along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue before reaching Chinatown. An official opening ceremony at midday in Trafalgar Square will then be followed by various performances. Expect to see acrobatics, traditional dance, theatre and song recitals by artists visiting from China especially for the occasion. A second stage on Shaftesbury Avenue will provide a platform to local performers and up-and-coming acts.
Beyond the main stages there’ll be plenty to see and do throughout Chinatown, with craft stalls and food stands in operation during the day and the area’s numerous restaurants set to be especially lively. The Chinese Community Centre will host a more intimate festival in Horse & Dophin Yard, featuring displays of traditional Chinese arts including calligraphy, drumming and dancing, and martial arts. All activities forming part of the official celebrations are free to attend and, although the programme concludes at 6pm, there should events taking place in Chinatown until later that evening.
In addition to the official celebrations, Londoners can mark the arrival of the Year of the Horse at various locations throughout the city.
On the evening of Thursday January 30, the London Eye will be lit red and gold in honour of the occasion and there will be performances and giveaways at the site from 5.30pm on the same day.
Michelin-starred dim sum tea-house Yauatcha has collaborated with Harvey Nichols to launch a limited-edition menu for the festive period and will host a dragon dance within the restaurant itself on February 2.
In the Shard, Hutong is celebrating its first Chinese New Year by offering a “Double Happiness” menu. Costing £88, it will feature traditional Chinese dishes and will be complemented by a performance from a traditional lion dance troupe.
The National Maritime Museum will celebrate the occasion with a day of free workshops, performances and traditional lion dance at its site on February 15.
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